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A Super-Charmed Baltimore Summer

As of this afternoon, school’s out, so let the summer adventures begin!  With two boys who just finished preschool and a daughter who will be starting this fall, I look at summers differently.  Now, the season is about more than just sunny days and sky-high temperatures.  The kids have begun anticipate and savor (as much as preschoolers can) this exciting, fun-filled break we have to enjoy.  Knowing the school bell will ring again in just a few months, we plan to make the most of each and every day.  Fortunately, with all of the activities happening around Baltimore, we did not have to look long or hard to fill up our calendar.

If you are searching for some ideas of how to keep the kids active and engaged this summer in Baltimore, here are some places to look: 

Baltimore City’s Super Summer site is a collaboration between the City, Baltimore City Public Schools and several non-profits.  Check out the site for information on summer learning academies, camps, the Pratt Library’s summer reading program and more.  If you’d like to find something close to where you live or work, you can use the interactive map tool to choose among the many locations for the summer academies which offer everything from language classes to STEM workshops to reading enrichment.

The Department of Recreation and Park’s 2012 Summer Guide is chockfull of activities.  Inside the guide,
 you’ll find info on:  pool hours, swimming lessons, bird walks, guided nature hikes, kids’ yoga in the park, movies at the pool, kayaking lessons, themed camps (environmental, performing arts, science, karate, and more), family fishing nights, sports leagues and the list goes on and on.  Really, this book has a ton of great ideas.  I took an hour to go through it and still hadn’t copied all of the things we plan to do onto our calendar.

Waterfront Kids from the Waterfront Partnership offers free kids activities Tuesday through Saturday mornings at West Shore Park all summer long. Visit the website for the schedule of events. 
Theme park discounts can be obtained through the Department of Recreation and Parks.  Want to pack up the kids and hit the roller coasters? Check out page 11 of the summer guide for discounts to local amusement parks.

The Book Thing is a great place to stock up on books for your next trip.  The Book Thing, open on weekends only, is a completely free book “store”.  You simply take what you want.  There is a small children’s section, and shelves and shelves of books of all different genres.  Want to brush up on a foreign language before your next trip?  There’s even a section with non-English books.  The best thing is that unlike borrowing from the library, you do not have to be too upset about if one of your free books gets lost or left behind on vacation.

Aside from the summer reading program I already mentioned and their year-round quality programming, the Pratt library offers a variety of other fun resources that are perfect for the summer:
  • Planning a road trip with the kids? Check out the books on CD to keep the kids entertained in the car.
  • Heading to the beach?  Keep your beach bag light by checking out digital books from the library. You can download e-books (including children’s books) to your device or check out an e-reader from the library.
  • Need something for a rainy day?  Utilize the library’s interlibrary system to borrow toys from across Maryland.  Several libraries lend toys from parachutes to puzzles.  It’s a nice way to refresh your toy pile. We’ve even borrowed toys as easy, inexpensive entertainment for birthday parties. While you are checking out the interlibrary system, make note of the children's portable video players (playaways) and baby booster book kits (themed backpack filled with books and activities)- more great resources to fill the summer days.  
Don’t forget to spend some lazy days with no schedule at all!  We’ll be back to fast paces days of school, sports leagues, dance classes and all before we know it. And lastly, as you are packing up and putting away school clothes for the summer, don’t forget to put aside uniforms that your kids have outgrown for DBFA’s uniform drive coming later this summer.
Sharicca Boldon a marketing manager for AOL in their Tide Point offices in Locust Point.  She and her husband have twin sons and daughter. Sharicca is Vice President of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance.



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